Friday, 31 July 2020
What do you call this feeling?
There is a certain sensation which has no name that I am aware of, but which I am sure you are familiar with. It is the feeling of atavistic thrill that runs down your spine and makes your pulse race when you see something that it has hitherto been suggested to have awesome and almighty power suddenly reveal it to devastatingly destructive effect.
I was reminded of this feeling recently when re-watching Laputa: Castle in the Sky. If you have seen the film, you will know the scene I am talking about - it is the one in which the half-damaged robot, which had previously been thought defunct, is suddenly activated and single-handedly destroys an almighty fortress and, presumably, kills hundreds of people in the process. Sadly, YouTube only has this short Metallica-ized clip, which doesn't do it justice, but still:
Miyazaki loves these moments - his earlier films are full of them. But so does Hollywood. You will be familiar with these examples:
There are plenty of others - in literature as well as film (China Mieville, for example, has always struck me as a writer with a keen instinct for this sort of scene).
Where does this feeling come from? Partly, it is pure child-like love of destruction. Partly it is a kind of received glory: as though one is somehow vicariously edified by a naked display of power to which one is not subject. Partly it is sheer anticipation, combined with a feeling of hidden knowledge: you know what is coming when the Terminator walks out the door of the police station, but the police - those poor fools - do not, and that can't fail to excite. And partly, perhaps, there is even a sense of the sublime in these moments - a sort of transcendant beauty in the aesthetics of strength and might.
In summary, human beings like watching a god-like entity squish things. But we don't appear to have a single word, at least in English, which describes the sensation.
Posted by noisms at 00:44